The Yakima Health District and the State Department of Health have developed this specialized plan to get businesses reopened in Yakima County and minimize economic impacts to the region while implementing additional COVID-19 response activities to help offset the risk of transmission in these businesses. The Department of Health is making an exception to the regular “Safe Start” process due to the high level of COVID-19 activity in Yakima County, the negative economic impacts to the community for remaining in phase 1 for a prolonged time period, and the concern of spreading virus as residents seek services out of county.
This plan allows Yakima County to reopen some businesses if the county begins immediate implementation of new activities to augment their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beginning on July 2, 2020, the county must continue or begin implementation of all the activities in the below table to augment their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Yakima Health District will send weekly progress reports to the Department of Health to monitor progress in implementing the new response activities until hospitalizations for COVID-19 consistently decline in their community.
|Individuals Response Measures||Required Activities to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic|
|Community masking||Require masks in all businessesContinue distribution of masks to the publicFurther develop local campaigns to communicate about the importance of masking and other individual community mitigation strategiesPerform a survey to assess mask use in several cities in the county every week|
|No gatherings with people outside the household||Further develop local campaigns to communicate the importance of wearing masks and other individual community mitigation strategiesRegularly communicate with the public via press conferences and other means to remind the public not to hold gatheringsEncourage law enforcement to provide education to large groups that are gathered in the community to re-establish a norm in the community|
|Public Health Response Measures||Required Activities|
|Testing||Communicate with healthcare providers and the public about the need to test everyone with symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild, and all asymptomatic people with high risk of exposure including all household and other close contacts of cases, and persons exposed in outbreak settingsMaintain additional drive thru test sites in the countyDistribute educational materials and masks at all drive thru test sites|
|Case/contact investigations||Ensure healthcare partners are educating patient about isolation and quarantine when specimens are getting collectedBuild capacity locally to do case / contact investigations (goal is 15 FTE / 100,000)|
|Case/contact management||Establish mechanism for DOH case/contact investigators to communicate patient needs to local health jurisdiction staffDedicate core staff to provide wrap around services to cases and contact in isolation and quarantine Use incentives to keep individuals in isolation and quarantineTrack services provided for review with DOH at weekly meetings|
|Infection prevention and outbreak response in general businesses||Require all businesses to sign a business pledge agreeing that they will follow all COVID-19 guidance and submit the pledge, along with a safe operating plan, to the Chamber of Commerce prior to opening and post the plan on the front entrance. Pledge form can found on the Chamber of Commerce website or the Yakima Health District website. Require Yakima Health District to look for COVID-19 measures during routine inspections of restaurantsDedicate core staff to outbreak prevention and response activities|
|Infection prevention and outbreak response in the agricultural industry||Regularly convene or communicate with agricultural industry to ensure businesses are following state DOH and L&I guidance Establish mechanism for DOH case/contact investigators to notify local health jurisdiction staff of agricultural workers with COVID-19Follow DOH guidance when investigating potential outbreaks in agricultural businessesVisit agricultural businesses when a case is identified and perform an outbreak investigation.If an outbreak is detected (2 or more cases), test all staff and employees to identify both symptomatic and asymptomatic persons within the building or site and make site specific isolation and quarantine orders.If a single member of a housing unit or group shelter tests positive, test the entire group shelter.|
|Infection prevention and outbreak response in LTCFs||Regularly convene or communicate with long term care facilities to ensure they are following state guidance and have the supplies they need Complete point prevalence testing at long term care facilitiesImplement weekly testing of staff|
|Health Care Response|
|Hospital capacity||Must have 20% surge capacity in hospitals, including ICUs, prior to opening.Must have adequate capacity to transport patients outside of the county if hospitals and/or ICUs becomes overwhelmed|
Once this plan is approved by the State Department of Health, the following businesses may reopen under the following parameters if adequate progress is made on the above required activities:
- Construction as permitted in Phase 2 guidance. (new construction projects can occur)
- Manufacturing as permitted in Phase 2 guidance. (non-essential manufacturing)
- Restaurants for outdoor seating only with proper distancing. Only members of the same household may dine together.
- In-store retail at 15% indoor capacity with indoor activities limited to 30 min.
- Personal services at approximately 25% indoor capacity or
If capacity is 1-4 stations, can operate 1 station
If capacity is 5-8 stations, can operate 2 stations
If capacity is 9-12 stations, can operate 3 stations
- Dog groomers at 25% indoor capacity
- No gatherings with people outside of the household except for small behavioral health support groups of <5 people. Masking and social distancing must be practiced.
Yakima County will focus on the public health goal of decreasing hospitalizations for COVID-19. This metric will be monitored over the course of implementing this plan. If hospitalizations for COVID-19 significantly increase throughout the course of implementing this plan, the state will consider a strict lock down of the county, including closure of nearly all businesses.
For more information visit: https://www.yakimacounty.us/2429/Safe-Start-Yakima-County